Three days after they were removed from their local leadership roles as chair and vice chair of the Harford County delegation, Dels. Susan McComas and Rick Impallaria launched a counter-attack – claiming rules violations negate their dismissal, filing an ethics complaint and vowing they will run tomorrow morning’s delegation meeting rather than their newly-chosen replacements.
Del. Rick Impallaria, (Dist. 7) has today filed ethics complaints against fellow Harford County Dels. Donna Stifler and J.B. Jennings in separate sworn affidavits filed with the Ethics Counsel in the Maryland General Assembly.
Impallaria claims Stifler falsely accused him of abusing her aide in a closed door meeting between Impallaria and the aide, whom he met with at the aide’s request, to hear concerns about the Harford County Delegation. Impallaria says he denied the abuse allegation to Stifler in the presence of Del. Susan McComas.
Here is Impallaria’s account of the much-discussed altercation which ensued between himself and Stifler:
I responded that the allegation was not true. She then said that I was calling her a liar. I naturally replied ‘I am not calling you a liar, but the allegation is a lie.’ I told Delegate Stifler that we would have to talk to her aide and she said I would not be allowed to talk to her aide because I had abused her. At that point I realized there was no reasoning with her and told her that she was a ‘kook’. I stand by that statement and still believe it to be solid and true.”
Impallaria’s claim goes on to say that when Stifler’s allegations were published in a Harford County newspaper, it “accomplished all three necessary steps.” That being a false allegation to others, a false allegation made to himself and a witness and finally, a false allegation in print. Impallaria says he then contacted the State Police and the Speaker’s Office requesting an investigation which he says determined the allegations were false and that such “unfounded and untrue allegations can be very damaging.” Impallaria is “seeking appropriate action be taken against Delegate Stifler.”
The claim against Jennings states that Jennings “participated in this slander with Delegate Stifler and has spoken on the phone with constituents from the Seventh District stating that I had assaulted Delegate Stifler.” Impallaria called the statements “malicious attacks upon my reputation” and requested an ethics violation be pressed against Jennings.
“Two Chairs Set Harford Meeting on House Floor”
When it was time for the local delegations to Annapolis to announce Friday’s meetings on the floor of the house, two delegates rose to claim Harford’s chair. Conflicting times were set.
The official recording of session can be heard at http://mlis.state.md.us/asp/listen.asp.
Select the Thursday, February 5, 2009 Session #1. The recording plays as follows:
At 8:20 into session, during committee announcements, the Speaker recognized, “The young lady from Harford County.” Del. McComas announced, very quickly, that “The Harford County delegation meeting will be on February 6 at Rm 302 in the Lowe Office Bulding at 9:30 a.m. Thank you.”
At 8:34, the Speaker recognized, “The gentleman from Baltimore and Harford Counties.” Del. Jennings said, “Thank you Mr. Speaker, chair of Harford County Delegation; Harford County Delegation will be tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. in Harford County Delegation Room.”
At 11:56 into session, Del. Impallaria was recognized as “The gentleman from Harford and Baltimore” and said, “Vice chair of the Harford County delegation point of, a, personal priviledge, I, I realize that, a, [speaker bangs gavel three times] body may be confused. There is an issue goin on in Harford County, and we still believe that Susan, um McComas is still the chair of the Harford County delegation. Thank you.” [speaker bangs gavel 3 times]
Hell no, we won’t go?
McComas and Impallaria have told the Harford County Delegation that the vote taken on Monday, February 2nd to oust them as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the House Delegation, is null and void and they intend to preside at the regularly scheduled delegation meeting Friday, February 6th. The vote in question installed Jennings as Chair and Del. Wayne Norman as Vice-Chair of the eight-member body.
McComas and Impallaria laid out their case in a letter citing violations of both the Open Meetings Act and Roberts Rules of Order. Here’s a copy of the letter:
So who will be holding the gavel and (hopefully) conducting the people’s business at 9:30 A.M. tomorrow? Stay tuned.